Thursday, January 2, 2014

Joy: Day 9

Joy to the world! The Lord is come: let earth receive her king;
Let every heart prepare him room, and heaven and nature sing.

With “Joy to the world” in our hearts and minds, I invite you to join me in looking each of these twelve days of Christmas for instances of the joy that runs through all of creation, especially through experiencing the beauty and wonder of God’s world.

 This picture is one I took two years ago in Syracuse, New York, but it represents something that gave me joy today when I was driving and unable to snap a photo. I was leaving Grand Island this afternoon, driving south on Highway 281 on the sort of cold, gray afternoon that brings “In the bleak midwinter” to mind. Just south of Stolley Park Road, I noticed something running away from the highway, following a fence. That something was a deer. Just like the deer in my photo from Syracuse, it was finding its way along the edge of property on the outskirts of town. Part of the joy is seeing a wild animal where we don’t expect it to be, a sudden reminder that even with all our highways and factories and stores and houses, wildness is always near.

This winter deer brought to mind another, much older, Christmas carol, “The holly and the ivy”:

The holly and the ivy,
When they are both full grown
Of all the trees that are in the wood
The holly bears the crown
O the rising of the sun
And the running of the deer
The playing of the merry organ
Sweet singing in the choir.

Here it is sung by the Westminster Abbey Choir

Joy to the world! The Savior reigns; let us our songs employ, while fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains, repeat the sounding joy.

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